Since I was a little kid, I had this vision, of moving to Hollywood to pursue my dreams. I grew up with this. As an actress and dancer, it only made sense to me that I would eventually make my way out to the city of dreams. I had only been to Disneyland and The San Diego zoo. The rest of what Hollywood/LA was to me was whatever I saw in a movie.
Can you imagine my shock and surprise when I packed everything I owned and showed up to knock on LA’s door?
It was quite the experience to say the least…
Here’s the best advice I can give to you so far 🙂
Finding a Place
My first piece of advice is to research where you are going to live. For me I used Craigslist..and let’s just say my first place was a Craigslist fail, but I had looked online for months and was sick of it. Many people told me the city was too dangerous I should start off in the Valley. After 2 years in the Valley, I realized that I wanted to be somewhere with more excitement. I wanted to be able to walk everywhere, I wanted the constant movement of people and different places to explore. (You can listen to people, but you really should explore and research these places on your own. Only you know where you’ll be most happy).
I now live in Koreatown. I used an app called RadPad. HUGE difference. One thing you will learn is that the small sub cities that make up LA are extremely overpopulated. These cities are great for the fact that they are very walkable. That is something I was looking for. I can walk to the grocery store, coffee shops, theatre etc.
Driving in LA
My next piece of advice is if you live in the city, get prepared to pay for parking. EVERYWHERE. This ticked me off at first. That, plus reading all of the signs. Be careful, make sure you triple check the parking signs. I have had my car towed twice and ticketed 3 times. (I’ll eventually get it engraved into my brain) Just get used to waking up at 7:00am in your pj’s and joining the hundreds of other people walking around to find their cars to move in the mornings to avoid street cleaning tickets.
I highly recommend spending the extra cash for a parking garage. Consider it a part of your rent. If you choose not to, you will have endless nights searching for a parking spot, you also may get your window broken and GPS stolen…just sayin-a parking garage may be a great idea…
I used to live in Seattle, so we have our fare share of traffic. However, the traffic is at specific times. In California, you can be stuck in traffic at any time of day it seems like. I now plan at least 30 minutes to an hour before I am supposed to be somewhere because I have been late far too many times. The “I’m new here, so sorry I’m late” stopped working for me after 5 months.
I always have snacks in my purse, and good music in my car to prepare for these moments. I also have developed quite a bit of road rage, and my out of town friends say I have turned into a “California” driver, I take that as a compliment because they used to call me a terrible driver. You’ll get used to it, just be prepared to get flipped off and honked at and be doing it back a great deal!
My BIGGEST piece of advice, do not let LA consume you. I have met so many incredible people, learned so much about myself and my passions in life. If I wasn’t brave enough to put myself out there and move completely out of my comfort zone I would have never seen or experienced all that I have. I have to be honest with you, after 2 years I moved back to Seattle. I let LA get the better of me. I was lonely and didn’t explore everything California had to offer, I saw an ugly side of the industry and I let it all negatively impact me and doubt myself as an artist.
DO NOT DO THIS!!!!
It took me a year to kick myself in the pants and get back here. I am happier here now that I have my own space and am focusing on all of the opportunity and beauty that this city has to offer. Having great friends, exploring new places and not stressing has helped me appreciate LA so much more!
Does LA have negative people in it? Yes. So does any city. Just remember to stay focused, have fun, enjoy your journey and you will do just fine here.